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Idea to help fix dwarves

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  • Hmmm... personally I'm behind a bonus to unit strength, it is fluffed really well for Dwarves but I agree it would be difficult to fit in the current system.


    • I'm beginning to think that we don't need any boosts, and that Alessio and the RC got things pretty right. I know it's heresy to say that in this thread, but here's my thinking (please bear with me)

      In Warhammer, my success with Dwarves over 150 games was just over 50%; I won slightly more than I lost. I'm a good player, but not a great one, and it was bloody hard trying to match Skaven, Warriors of Chaos, Dark Elves etc with Warhammer Dwarves. GW just wasn't interested in making a competitive book that fit within the meta, and they didn't.

      In Kings of War, I'm averaging around 65% wins after 37 games. I'm not trying to brag about how awesome I am, but I'm finding that Dwarves are much more competitive in KOW than they ever were in Warhammer. My lists are predominantly combat, with some light shooting (normally 2 regiments of Rangers, maybe a troop of Sharpshooters). I don't take much chaff, because the Dwarf list doesn't really have any. I take one regiment of Brock Riders and a Brock Lord (with Beastslayer of course, never, ever leave home without him). I have taken a Greater Elemental and a Horde of Elementals, but I recently dropped them for an Ironclad Horde, the Sharpshooters and a Regt of Shieldbreakers (for greater Unit Strength).

      So I generally play with a very slow (Sp 4 or 5) army, with only a little bit of shooting. I should be getting smashed, but with only two exceptions, I feel that I am in the game right up until the last turn (I've lost two games due to bad deployment, my fault, not the army's). Even when I lose, I normally feel like I had a good chance.

      I think I've done better than I'd expect because;

      1. The scenarios force our opponents to commit to us. Invade, Dominate and Control mean that our opponents can't just sit back and pew-pew, they have to mix it up with us. Even Loot and Pillage require them to get up close and personal if they want the markers. When you have a slow combat army, this is gold.

      2. I expect to get charged. This sucks, but my thing is to try to control this as much as possible with terrain (for hindered charges), De 6+ units or the Ironclad Horde with Phalanx, careful positioning to prevent combo-charges and finally, Mr Flying Dwarf King, to take TC from attacking units or to block them. For me, the key moment of the game is when the enemy charge, and it's doing all you can to disrupt that alpha strike.

      3. Dealing with flyers. This is where the Brock Lord, helped by the 2 Battle Drillers (awesome things) and sometimes the Flying King come into play. They cover most of the rear quite nicely, and if you focus on one thing at a time, you can generally ground it, and even kill it fairly quickly. The change to Fly (no fly move if Disordered) is gold for us, no more Dragons/greater Demons flying out of combat.

      4. Winning the grind. Once we're charged, I generally find that we win the grind. The Battle Drillers go a long way to achieving this, but adding critical damage and their Brutal modifier to the Ironguard and Ironclad units in the frontline. I also like the Healing Charm. I do have troubles with Empire of Dust, who are also very grindy (I hate De6 Behomeths.....!)

      I haven't had to play with the extreme lists that Montegue pointed out (triple Dragonlords, much sadness), so I don't have all the answers. All I'm trying to say is that my personal experience is that we have the tools to win games, and win them well. Some chaff warhounds would be fantastic, and I'd love to be able to use the 5 Gyrocopters I have from my Warhammer days, but if we never get these, I think we'll still be OK.


      • How many large events have you placed top 5 in?

        I'm not asking as an ego comparison, I"m asking because your assertion that we don't need any help needs to be supported with some data from large competitive play events.

        Your personal experience is limited in a way that, in my opinion, has given you a false sense of the army's potential. In a big event, with lots of armies and people who have access to all the tools we do not, we really struggle to place.

        The question isn't "can we win games". Of course we can. The question is "do we have the tools necessary to win games enough to win a large competitive event". The answer to that is still hanging in the wind. At the Masters both in the UK and the US top notch players took dwarfs and none of them did top 10 for battle points, to the best of my knowledge. That's a problem.


        • I'm in New Zealand, so we don't have large events; the most I've played in had around 20 players. We have frequent tournaments, but they're normally 10-20 players. So while I've played a few games, my sample size is small. The small pool also means that we don't have as much innovation perhaps as other gaming scenes.

          So I freely admit that my experience is not the be-all and end-all. My point is that I think our army list is better than you might give it credit for. The lack of speed is less of a concern than it was in Warhammer, as the scenarios force our opponents to commit to us. Our infantry and elementals are fairly resilient, and with proper use of terrain (we use 8-9 pieces per table), you can normally break up the alpha-strike charge.

          The failure to do well in big tournaments is a concern. I do hope the RC sees some way to reel in the top armies and bring the bottom-dwellers up a bit. I would also like to see infantry become stronger (which disproportionately benefits us). I would also like some chaff units, like mastiffs, to really help absorb the alpha-strike. But I think we do OK, and that's where every army should be.


          • Montegue, OK, I went and reread your Masters post, and just to be clear, I agree that there are some things that need to be sorted;

            1. Slow and limited options is a stale, boring and limited take on Dwarf armies, I agree. Personally I'd prefer to see us get Nimble, to reflect better drill and unit movement, but that's probably a bridge too far for the RC. At least Spe 5.

            2. Dwarf infantry (all infantry?) needs a buff. I'd settle for slightly higher Nerve.

            My point is that I don't think we are a 'bottom tier' army, if such a term is relevant any more. Top line armies likely need a nerf, and the RC has shown willingness to do that (e.g. Pharoah is now De5).


            • I actually don't think nerfing"top tier" armies is the right way to go. I've made the point before, so I won't dwell, but what the Dwarfs lack is the means to take initiative. The onfield tactics available to Dwarfs are limited. The options to exploit your opponents weaknesses/mistakes are limited. You can make the options they do have stronger, or nerf the options other armies have, but you won't really solve the issue. It just risks making Dwarfs point and click, or other armies boring to play.

              IMO, the goal isn't just to make Dwarfs a viable Masters choice. If that were the case, then a few powerful options would do the trick. It's to increase the options available to a good player. That's why I'm generally more in favour of solutions which add variety to the list, over those that boost power levels. Especially static power. Power that doesn't require you to do much to use it effectively.


              • I'm in the same boat. I have said for a very long time, both in this game and in the 9th Age, that unit diversity is the largest problem, and would make the army perfectly viable to play in all environments.


                • As someone who thinks about playing dwarves but does not play them in competitive events, I can say that the army is not weak; it just does not have some of the tools to make it a top tier and consistently competitive army in certain battles. Because of the KoW structure, speed and getting the first charge both matter a lot. The only way for dwarves to compensate is to have some combinations of: much better shooting (which they did not generally get as much as abyssal dwarves which have heavy mortars, decimators, and individual rule breath weapons all being clearly points efficient units; except for the flame belcher and maybe organ gun); some faster chaff or unique chaff (vanguard or advanced deployment, rangers and ranger captain are a bit too expensive to be considered chaff or would need a stouter unit version to post out a position hold a charge); a mix of faster units (received brock riders or heroes on brocks or with flying); or some unique movement concepts (such as miners) or to have greater resiliency (greater nerve or toughness for the points). KoW did give some of the tools in brock riders and rangers and really made them more competitive in a melee build than WHFB allowed for in a long time (even with 8th edition rules allowing units to step up and hit back was a huge improvement over 7th edition when dwarves often did not stand a chance).

                  Based on Dan King's reply on a Mantic Forum, I think you might see some sort of Mastiff/dog packs and heavy cav (bear riders?). That may give the army the chaff/cheaper and faster troop option it needs as well as a heavier, more mobile follow-up unit to brock riders in terms of mobility. Giving some of the units with sp4 nimble in return for slower speed would be very interesting but might require a point cost change (giving hordes nimble might making units slightly over-costed for their characteristics modestly undercosted given the value of nimble). The ability of nimble to allow slower units to get flanks and combo charges that non-nimble units cannot get was exploited with soul reaver cav by the winner of Masters battle, as Montegue might know.

                  I'd rather see incremental tweaks to specific armies not quite as competitive as the top tier armies to avoid the inevitable leap-frogging power creep that can occur if one is not careful.
                  Last edited by Lurcker2; 24-03-2017, 04:19 PM.


                  • I think it's a more fundamental question of structure. All armies should have reasonable access to competitive play in all phases. Obviously some armies will trade excellence in one category for moderate power in another, based on the overall idea behind the army. The greater point about army diversity, however is that you get to see a lot of different lists being played, many types of units on the field, and as a player you have *choices*. For some inexplicable, absurd reason, Dwarf armies in fantasy battle games are the only army that designers feel fundamentally must be very bland in terms of available unit choices. In both 8th, 9th age, and KoW, Abyssal Dwarfs (evil DWARFS) have access to a massive variety of options, troop choices, and all the best tools you can have on the field. And yet, if you suggest that Dwarfs see even a modicum of that sort of diversity and strength, everyone loses their damn mind.

                    Diversity is fun. Having access to the cool toys is fun. Flying combat lords are really fun. Being able to participate actively in the movement phase is fun. Brocks and Rocks is, right now, quickly becoming the only viable build (which might change a bit in CoK games). That's not fun, that's just the old corner hammer by another name. One play style, one list, etc etc.

                    We really, really really really really need more unit types.


                    • And that can be achieved so easily, if people would just lean into the 'master engineer' angle. And I don't just mean "give us gyrocopters" (but seriously, give us gyrocopters), but why not give dwarfs on foot some more mechanized equipment/tools?


                      • Given the new direction that GW is taking Dwarfs in AoS, I doubt Mantic will want to wander into the realm of heavy tech for the army. I think there's more mileage to be had in exploring the mystical and wilderness aspects of the army unique to Mantica.


                        • It would be a very "brave" choice to abandon the technology that Dwarfs already display in Mantic's model range and do further along the mystical and wilderness aspects path. I, for one, would not like the character of mystical dwarfs. I have armies built with very specific themes (and honestly, I find elementals are already a step too far, but that's personal opinion). There's also a massive gulf between some simple technology and interesting devices and the god-awful horrors of those AoS-dwarf cybercop models.

                          I expect there might be more room to explore not going the gyrocopter/technology route, sure, but there's also a whole lot more pitfalls to make unhappy players by upsetting the tone from the very traditional style of a dwarf army that exists now.
                          "Slow and shambling wins the race!"


                          • Originally posted by Staks View Post
                            I'm curious about them too. Especially a vanguarding earth elemental, whether we can take multiples or whether he is[1]
                            Just the one .

                            All the units to go with the summer campaign heroes will be [1] .


                            • I think Dwarves are pretty good but I wouldn't mind the following to enable them to go toe to toe with the best armies:

                              1. An option of a king on a flying beast.
                              2. As previously mentioned, some sort of cheap fast chaff unit.
                              3. Headstrong currently costs 5 points per unit and is overpointed at that. (Given the choice, I'd rather just take 5 more points) Instead, increase the point cost to +15 and make them fearless.
                              4. Cut the points of the cannon. No one really takes it because it is too unreliable for the cost. Make it a legitimate choice.
                              5. Cut the points of the bulwarkers and give them the big shield rule (look at the models!).
                              6. Buff the warsmith or cut his points slightly. As a rule if you are ever considering taking a warsmith, you are better off just taking another cheap war machine. Make the warsmith choice competitive. I love the flavor of warsmiths but I can never justify taking one.
                              7. Cut the points cost of the Steel Behemoth to, say, 210.
                              8. Honestly, increase the point cost of brock riders a bit.

                              Dwarf armies are solid and can win, but there is a reason they tend to not finish highly at tournaments. They lack mobility but don't quite make up for it in other areas. Just a few tweaks as outlined above and I'd be happy as a clam.


                              • Big shield on the bulwarkers with their current cost would be interesting and indeed would match the official models.